It started in eighth grade,
much to the chagrin of her parents. Boys in high school started asking Roslyn
for dates. And Roslyn would tell them they would have to ask her father. And he
always said no.
“You’re too young to go out
with boys, Roslyn,” he would say. “On that subject, your mother and I completely
agree. Wait till you’re older.”
In high school, young men
in college discovered Roslyn and they too asked her out. She would tell
them that although she was allowed to date boys in high school now, her parents
wouldn’t let her go out with college “men,” as her mother called
“College men are too old for
you, Roslyn,” her mother said more than once and twice her father chimed in with
his one-word agreement.
When Roslyn went to college,
some of the graduate assistants and young assistant professors wanted to date
her but she was a pre-medical student and she hit the books hard. When she did
go on a date, it was usually for pizza and a movie with some young man in the
same year as she, someone she liked as a person but had no mad crush
Roslyn wanted to be a doctor,
an eye specialist, with a concentration on retinal diseases because her father
once came home from an eye examination to report that his eye doctor had
discovered two tears in his right retina and had used a laser to repair them.
Roslyn was impressed by the good the doctor had accomplished and she wanted to
make the same difference in other people’s lives.
In medical school she had to
study very hard. Roslyn was as bright as she was beautiful but medical school
was the first time she had to buckle down academically. Previously she had
earned good grades without working too hard. There was very little time in
medical school to date although once again some younger professors tried hard to
take her out. She always hoped her refusals wouldn’t affect her grades and she
felt that her grades invariably were those she had earned. She had a knack for
telling aspiring suitors “no” without offending them.
After medical school, she had
to serve an internship that required long, unpredictable hours. Again, many
doctors, single and otherwise, wanted to date her but Roslyn would have nothing
to do with married men and she didn’t meet a single doctor she really liked. She
explained this to her parents on trips home as well as to her girl friends from
high school, many of whom were now married with children, who had thought Roslyn
would be the first among them to marry and settle down.
When she went on to graduate
work in the study of the eye, Roslyn found she had to study even harder. She
didn’t date at all for fear of falling behind. What free time she had she
spent watching television and eating pizza delivered from a nearby restaurant.
She felt closer to her television set than she did to any man she had met so
far. No question she liked men. But the right one had so far failed to distract
her from her studies and goals in life.
Back home, her parents, once
very concerned their daughter would date the wrong boy at too young an age,
began now to worry they might never become grandparents. And her girl friends
started questioning her as to when she was going to settle down. Some of them
were downright nosy. Others wanted to fix her up. She politely refused all the
help she was offered.
“First,” she told them, “I have
to establish my practice and then I’ll have time to concentrate on finding the
right guy. He’s out there, I’m sure. I’m 27 now and I want to have at least
three children so I better get a move on.”
In two years Roslyn had quickly
established an excellent practice. She had appointments booked months in
advance. Other doctors referred especially difficult retina problems to
her because she excelled in using the laser for making repairs. She was now a
successful doctor but still as single as ever with no potential husband in
The years went by and Roslyn
became more and more successful and even dated decent men now and then. She
found one man very interesting but he did not share her interest in public
television and classical movies. Like many men he had an interest in sports
events and was always changing the channel to some game. Roslyn liked sports and
had played volleyball in high school and college but watching sports on TV held
little interest for her. She liked to compete and she was too old now to play in
Her father was the first to die
without becoming a grandparent and two years later her mother passed away
without any grandchildren. Roslyn was still steadfastly practicing medicine and
was again ordering pizza in and watching television in her few hours of spare
time. She had almost stopped dating because at age 48 she knew children were
likely out of the question and she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life
watching the Game of the Week.
She took time out, however,
to return to her hometown for the 30th anniversary of her high school
graduation. She was surprised to see how many of her old classmates now had
either a little or a lot of gray hair. Some men had paunches and many of the
women were bigger than they had ever thought they would be. Bearing children can
do that to a woman. Roslyn, however, was still slim and beautiful and gray hairs
had yet to appear.
Most of her old girl friends
had given up quizzing her as to why she had never married. But on the night of
their class reunion she shared a table and a few bottles of wine with her three
closest friends. One of them was a bit tipsy and leaned forward and looked
Roslyn in the eye and asked,
“Roz, why the hell are
you still single. Men forever have been chasing you. You’ve had a chance to meet
some of the nicest men out there. And you’re still a bachelorette.
Roslyn was very sober as always
and she took a minute to formulate her answer. She wanted to settle the issue
once and for all. Finally she laid it on the table between the wine bottles and
“Ladies, I have met a lot of
nice men but I have studied too hard and worked too hard to give up my
Two of the women laughed
and one of them raised her glass and proposed a toast to liberation and
possessing one’s own remote. Her husband had been in charge of their remote now
for 26 years. He put it down, however, to father six wonderful children. She’d
like to have her own remote but she preferred her children by a long
The tipsy girlfriend who
had asked the question just shook her head in fake despair and gave Roslyn
a skosh of too-late advice that had worked for her.
“By now you can afford to
buy another one. I bought two in case my husband loses his between the cushions
and wants to borrow mine."
Roslyn knew she could
afford to buy a second remote. But that wouldn’t have helped her find the right
man. He simply never appeared. At the moment, however, she was happy because now
the quiz about why she was a bachelorette was finally over. And, frankly, she
couldn’t wait to get home and watch “Gone with the Wind” for perhaps the 14th
time. She certainly would have lent Clark Gable her remote for an evening or two